Microsoft has recently revealed DirectX Raytracing (DXR), which is an extension of DirectX 12 that integrates ray tracing into the graphics API, so no traditional rasterization this time. The technology, supported by Unreal Engine and Unity, will allow users to generate more realistic real-time graphics on DX12-capable platforms.
Want a taste of the new technology? There are currently two demos of DXR running on Remedy Entertainment’s Northlight and EA’s experimental Halcyon engine.
There are limitations here, of course — the photorealistic technology is also more computationally demanding. As of this moment, games and other real-time applications are stuck to rasterization, but that’s definitely the future.
DirectX Raytracing should provide more subtle, realistic real-time graphics when there’s hardware powerful enough to run it.
DXR brings tons of good things, like a full 3D representation of the environment in a format for traversal by the GPU, a new command list method that forms the starting point for tracing rays, a set of HLSL shader types, and more.
It is worth noting that the technology does not introduce a new GPU engine: DXR is created to run on DX12’s existing graphics and compute engines, so it’s up to the individual companies to provide hardware solutions.
Nvidia is the first with its RTX, a technology that will “power all ray tracing APIs supported by NVIDIA on Volta and future GPUs”.
The thing is that we’ll have to wait for some time to get our hands on the technology in the games, but isn’t it worth waiting?